Pinhole cameras, magnetic tape readers, designated laptop computers and cloned ATM cards were all tools used in a scam that cost People's United Bank customers at least $64,000 in lower Fairfield County.
On Tuesday, the scam cost Nadia Pasici, a 50-year-old Romanian citizen, a year and a day of her freedom as a result of a sentence imposed on her by U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant. The judge also fined Pasici $5,000 and ordered her to make restitution of $60,664.
Authorities say Pasici was a member of a crew of Romanian nationals who preyed on People's United Bank ATM machines. The group, headed by Ion Constantine, taped pinhole cameras to the top of the machines to capture the keystrokes of customers as well the magnetic strips on the back of their cards, authorities say. Using this information, the scam artists were able to clone new cards and access 78 customer accounts, out of which $60,664 was taken in a three-week period in April 2010.
The ring was broken on April 22, 2010, when Pasici, Laura Stiuca and Sabrina Matache were arrested at the People's United Bank in Darien. Addresses for other People's branches, as well as their skimming tools, were found in their possession.
All eventually pleaded guilty to federal charges. Constantine was sentenced to 46 months in prison and Matache to a year and a day. Stiuca is awaiting sentencing.